STUDY: Age Has Direct Correlation With Facebook Usage Patterns

TorcasioChart1At various points over the past year, the Internet has been aflutter with the idea that Facebook is having trouble attracting younger users to its platform. However, recent statistics from PrivacyGuard, an identity-theft-protection company, show that these claims may be overstated. In fact, there appears to be a direct correlation between a person’s age and the likeliness that they’re on Facebook.

Furthermore, a distressing picture starts to appear when we look at users who know less than one-half of their friends in real-life and compare that number to the number of users in a particular age range who simply abstain from the platform.

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Whether it’s peer pressure, a fear of missing out, or something else, it appears as though young people are three times more likely to be on Facebook than to avoid the site, even if it means sharing personal information with strangers.

This can leave the younger demographic particularly susceptible to identity theft, since much of the information a person typically includes in their Facebook profile (birthday, high school attended, etc.) can be used by thieves to reverse-engineer an identity. For example, many websites use “high school mascot” as a security question. Suddenly, unfamiliar Facebook “friends” are a simple Google search away from knowing this piece of information.

Almost two-thirds of people we surveyed aged 18 through 24 said they had trust issues with Facebook and other social media sites. However, despite their concerns, this age range is logging in to the site more often than any other age group, and while they’re online, they may be partaking in risky behavior.

Readers: Do you think Facebook has issues attracting and retaining teen users?

Vin Torcasio is director of product for PrivacyGuard, a comprehensive credit-reporting, credit-monitoring, and identity-theft-protection service that helps consumers maintain control over their most critical information. The survey referenced in the article was performed by Survey Sampling International, and it included a sample of 1,000 consumers.

Image of teens with laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.

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